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Cancer J. 2014 Jan-Feb;20(1):85-90. doi: 10.1097/PPO.0000000000000012.

Intellectual property and regulation of molecular pathology tests.

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From the Department of Molecular Pathology, Robert J. Tomsich Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH.


Legal and regulatory issues have assumed heightened importance in molecular pathology. Patents on relationships between human gene variants and clinical phenotypes, as well as on the underlying gene sequences themselves, have been extremely controversial. However, recent Supreme Court decisions appear to have rendered invalid these classes of patents. The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 have been the primary basis for laboratory oversight in the United States, whereas the Food and Drug Administration has been responsible for regulating in vitro test kits distributed in interstate commerce. However, the Food and Drug Administration has recently announced its intention to regulate laboratory-developed tests, raising concerns in the laboratory community. This article reviews recent developments impacting the legal status of gene patenting and oversight of molecular pathology testing in the United States.

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